I'm absolutely loving my new sketchbook!

August 7, 2020 | 11 Comments

Two weeks ago I started a new sketchbook – a Moleskine Watercolour Notebook in A4 portrait – and I’m absolutely loving it. I filled 13 of these books during my big Europe trip last year but haven’t used them since then.

Not only does the paper suit my style of watercolour (see this article for more about that) but also these three aspects feel really good:

1. Size
I’m really loving the freedom I have with my pen and brush when I’m working within an A3 size (double page spread). Working bigger certainly helps my flow!

2. Format
The portrait format is so much easier to handle than a wide A4 landscape sketchbook (especially when out urban sketching) and it feels more like a normal notebook. This makes the book feel more ‘friendly’ and less precious, which is an important characteristic for an everyday sketchbook.

3. Layout
While the long format of an A4 landscape book probably has more composition and layout options overall, I’m finding the double page spread of this portrait book is easier to lay out and design. It’s working really well for my typical page which includes a morning coffee and an afternoon sketching outing.

A selection of pages from my sketchbook so far

Although I’ve shared some of these sketches before, I thought you might like to see them in the context of a full sketchbook spread. As always, please click on the images to view larger. Enjoy!

When you look at these pages can you see the joy and freedom I felt at the time?



  • Mary Eastwood says:

    Love your sketches and I really like the extra room and layout that your new book has. I always look forward to your posts! Keep safe.

  • Raffaele Ciccaleni says:

    What’s the grey “gadget” shown on Tue. 28.7?

  • Julie Knowles says:

    Oooh nice Liz! I think in the first sentence “a Moleskine Watercolour Notebook in A4 portrait”, you meant “A3”, right?

  • Martine says:

    I love the portrait A5 format of hahnemuhle or stillman & Birn. But I love the moleskine paper Unfortunately the moleskine A5 (well almost A5) somehow doesn’t come in a portrait format, only in landscape. So I am working in both a Hahnemuhle portrait and a moleskine landscape. I am thinking about trying the moleskine A4 portrait. But as a beginner such a big size seems daunting.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Martine – I have an A5 portrait format moleskine. I haven’t bought one recently but hope they are still available – hopefully you can find one!

      • martine says:

        Thanks for your reaction. So I did some extra searching after your reply, and it turns out they do have a portrait A5! For some reason it’s in a different range of their products, that’s why I couldn’t find it at first. The landscape format is called ‘Art plus’ with a pink banner on the package. And the portrait is called ‘Art’ with a purple banner on the package. And both have 200 grams paper with 25% cotton cold press. So I have no idea what the difference is, but I am going to give it a try 🙂

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